BY MATT TUCK
Star Wars ruled the secondary markets as the key issues continue to set records at a speed worthy of the Millennium Falcon.
Before The Mandalorian injected the comic market with a massive dose of steroids last year, the market was actually in a downward turn. It was last spring, and uncertainty gripped the world economy. Across the globe, lockdowns were in effect, businesses were closing down, and people were losing their jobs. For many families, comic collecting was not a priority. Then came stimulus checks and The Mandalorian’s second season, and suddenly the comic market is as hot as ever.
After a year without the MCU, WandaVision kicked off 2021 in grand fashion and quickly assumed the reins on a raring market. Just when it looked like all those Star Wars keys would finally reach a plateau, the prices have shot up again.
The Galaxy Far, Far Away dominated the GPA market performers in March, occupying a total of 20 positions between the Bronze and Modern collecting eras. Keep in mind there are only 40 grades ranked as it is, which means Star Wars titles owned half of all the positive performers. That, my friends, is impressive.
POSITIVE MARKET PERFORMERS
As I said in the last edition of the Stock Watch, the comic market is a living creature. It moves with twists and turns as collectors follow the trail of one hot issue or another. For the most part, the top performers are predictable and follow the MCU and now Star Wars news, but the market can sometimes throw everyone a curve, as we see with the surprise entries on the market performers, Star Wars #16 and #56.
Each month, GPAnalysis provides a variety of sales reports, and one of those is the positive market performers. The report lists the individual comics and grades that have seen the largest sales price increase over the course of a given month. These are divided by comic ages and ranked according to the top 20 for each era.
Listed below by comic collecting era are the top performers for the month of March with some insight into why these comics are so hot. Take a look.
The influence of Disney+’s Marvel series was felt far and wide in the secondary comic market, but it was particularly evident in the Silver Age thanks to WandaVision’s popularity.
In another month, X-Men #4 may begin to cool off, but only slightly. As WandaVision wrapped up at the beginning of March, collectors were buying Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s first appearances in droves. That is nothing new. Not only does this issue contain two Avengers’ debuts, but it also was the premiere of Magneto’s Brother of Evil Mutants, and we could see a version of that group in the MCU.
Those three factors have made this one of the most popular Silver Age issues for over a year now. Once WandaVision began streaming in February, X-Men #4 naturally began seeing record highs. That is what caught my attention - not the record highs, mind you, but the fact that so many copies are still selling so frequently despite the high prices.
There were six different grades of X-Men #4 that made the cut: the 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, and the 6.0. Of those, the 3.0 had the most gains in value with a 27.89% increase in fair market value. Now it is selling for as much as $2,500 when it averaged $683 only a year ago. With Scarlet Witch’s elevated status in the MCU, all the grades for X-Men #4 will only get hotter.
SILVER SURFER #3
I have seen other comic blogs proclaiming that now is the time to buy Silver Surfer #3. The idea here is that values will take a dip since Mephisto didn’t appear in WandaVision. The data, however, says differently as this issue is still reaching record highs.
Logically, you would think that the prices would be falling. The values skyrocketed throughout the length of WandaVision’s season. Then we reached the end, and it was all a carefully planned red herring, so there was no Mephisto in the MCU.
Shouldn’t that naturally lower prices for his first appearance? Not so fast. First of all, there is a chance he will appear in Loki given the allusion to him in the stained-glass window as part of the trailer. It also is suspicious that, in the comics, Mephisto is suddenly getting a push in the aftermath of the “War in Hell” storyline amidst the “King in Black” crossover.
Even though we did not get a Mephisto appearance or name drop in WandaVision, Silver Surfer #3 continues to break records. Last month, it matched X-Men #4 with six different grades among the top performers of the Silver Age. Among those were the 9.0, 7.0, 7.5, 7.0, 6.0, and the 5.5. Of those, those grades, the 9.0 has reaped the largest reward. Last year, it had an FMV of $1,108, but the most recent sale saw that same 9.0 sell for $4,015 on March 4.
This won’t be the end of the Mephisto inflation. If he gets more allusions in Loki, even if they are more red herrings, we can expect to see these grades get pushed even higher.
FANTASTIC FOUR #6
The single graded comic with the highest percentage of return was Fantastic Four #6. At a 2.0, this issue rose by 43.69% after a sale of $1,600 on March 7. Before that, it had stayed in the $500-$700 range. What is more impressive is that only two years ago, the 2.0 FF #6 averaged $283, and it had an FMV under $400 just last year.
When it comes to those classic FF issues, there are so many key moments to choose from, so why did this one earn such huge numbers? FF #6 marked the first super-villain team-up in Marvel Comics when Doctor Doom and Namor joined together to battle the Richards clan. That also happened to be the second appearance of Doom as well as the Submariner’s second appearance in the Silver Age. With so much Doom and Namor speculation across the internet, it makes sense that a combined key would bring high prices. Now we get to wait and see if that $1,600 sale will be a trend or an outlier.
Starting with those 1970s key issues, it is all about Star Wars. With all the new SW content on the horizon for Disney+ not to mention any future movies, comic collectors cannot get enough Star Wars. Leading the pack is anything tied to The Mandalorian and the upcoming The Bad Batch and Kenobi.
Below you will find the issues that lead the race for March, but the real attention-grabber is the fact that, including those that fell under GPA’s Modern Age label, fourteen different issues from the first volume of Star Wars made the rankings. Suffice to say, Star Wars dominated the sales charts for March, and that will likely continue until Disney+ eventually lands on a dud. For now, Star Wars is the hottest property in comics, bar none.
STAR WARS #1
Three grades in the top-20 Bronze Age market performers may not sound like much, but it is when so many other comics from that series are setting records. In this case, the first Star Wars comic saw its 9.8, 9.0, and 6.0 grades score particularly high sales. Those records are falling so rapidly that it has become almost a daily trend. That previously mentioned 9.8 sold for $6,500 only days ago on April 11, which marks the fifth consecutive sale in which that grade has reached $6k or beyond. Although it was a far cry from $6,500, the 9.0 set a record-high of $610 on March 31, while the 6.0 reached a new level of its own with a $300 sale on March 12.
STAR WARS #2
Not surprisingly, the second issue of the 1977 series, which was part of Marvel’s official movie adaptation before creating new stories for the franchise, was earning record numbers of its own. This issue has become hot ever since Disney announced the Kenobi series was in development for its streaming service. Although Obi-Wan was seen on the cover of SW #1, he did not make his in-story debut until issue #2. As far as grades, the 9.2 saw the most movement for this issue, reaching as high as $350 last month, although it hit a record in February with a $500 sale.
STAR WARS #16
Over the past month, Star Wars #16 saw the biggest gain for a single grade in the Bronze Age when a 9.6 saw its FMV jump by 41.84%. That has the 9.6 currently selling in the $250-$300 range after it was earning less than $100 in January.
This issue has been getting more attention lately, and I see it as a side effect from all the Star Wars hysteria. In issue #16, readers were given their first look at The Hunter, Beilert Valance. Whether or not there are rumors of him joining the Bounty Hunters crossover in the comics or if there is a possibility of him being introduced into live action is beyond me. At this point, every Star Wars first appearance gets the FOMO (“fear of missing out”) treatment, so it is no surprise to see its price rising.
Once again, those Star Wars comics owned the secondary market. While the franchise’s dominance was not as pronounced as it was for the Bronze Age, it was nonetheless evident with seven different grades for SW comics taking up the first eight positions in the rankings.
STAR WARS #42 & #68
These issues of SW shared the top spot with two grades each breaking into the Modern Age top 20. For modern comics, two different grades are good signs as we don’t usually see a single comic with many different grades in the top 20 here. Whether or not you consider these two Modern Age is another argument, but for GPA’s purposes, they put anything published from 1980 to the present as Modern.
That being said, it makes sense that these two comics were the leaders for the Modern Age. After all, they both feature key appearances tied directly to The Mandalorian, which is where this new age of Star Wars collecting began. Issue #42, as part of The Empire Strikes Back movie adaptation, gave readers the first appearance of Boba Fett in the ongoing Star Wars comic series. On the other hand, SW #68 appeared to have Boba Fett on the cover, but the story would explain it was a character named Fenn Shysa under the helmet.
STAR WARS #56
Here we have the comic with the single largest increase in FMV over the past month, Star Wars #56. Graded at a 9.8, this issue increased its sales price by a whopping 57.24%.
Compared to other comics on today’s list, SW #56 is relatively cheap, but that could be short lived. After earning $98 in 2020, the 9.8 suddenly jumped to $300 on March 14. It has sold twice more since then, bringing $200 and $250 both on March 18.
This issue could become much more collectible depending on whether or not Shira Brie becomes part of the live-action canon. She made her debut in this issue, though she would later become Lumiya, the Dark Lady of the Sith. With a name like that, it is hard to imagine her not being included in one of the many Disney+ projects sooner or later.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.